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Understanding Homeowners Associations

Posted By Mclain

Understanding Homeowners Associations

Do you live in or just move into a neighborhood that has a Homeowners Association (HOA)? Unsure what this means for your family? A homeowners association is an organization that governs that community by enforcing communal by-laws and maintenance of the community. HOAs exist in single-family home communities, condominium communities, and townhouse communities. Before you start the process of buying a house to buy, you need to consider if you are willing to purchase a property in a community with an HOA.

Here’s a guide to help you better understand the benefits and purpose of a Homeowners Association in your community.

 

Advantages

Security

Security is not an HOA’s primary duty, but living in a community with a homeowners association typically means having security involved. The HOA takes the necessary steps to keep its residents safe. Typical security features of an HOA community include gates, perimeter fences, security cameras, ample street lighting, security guards, and residents’ security awareness to name a few.

 

Amenities

One of the attractions of an HOA community that calls to potential homeowners is being able to have access to and enjoy the amenities that the community has to offer. These amenities are not usually found in your average house, and would definitely cost a fortune to maintain.

The homeowners association determines the amenities it offers depending on the members of the community. These amenities can be a wide range of activities depending if it’s a high-end to a mid-end community like swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, jogging paths, business centers, playgrounds, and gyms.

 

Property Maintenance

Part of homeownership is the responsibility of doing property maintenance. Living in an HOA community covers part of it. Collected HOA fees cover the shared costs of property maintenance. HOAs have employees or contracted services doing the required upkeep of the common areas in the property like electricians, plumbers, gardeners. In some cases, they also offer these services to homeowners, which rids homeowners of the hassle of having to look for skilled and vetting trustworthy contractors.

 

Increases Property Value

Properties in an HOA community have higher property values compared to those not in an HOA. Homeowners Association has rules and regulations that homeowners follow, which focus on the upkeep and maintenance of the community. This in turn impacts and improves the value of the properties and higher resale value if and when you decide to sell.

 

Disadvantages

Fees

One of the biggest drawbacks of moving into an HOA community, all homeowners become automatic members of the association and are required to pay the HOA fees. These fees go toward the costs of maintaining the community and cover security, landscaping, common areas maintenance, amenities, and pest control. Fees collected also vary depending on the amenities offered by the community and other services that the homeowners association offers.

Some homeowners associations have provisions in their by-laws on late payment and defaulting on HOA fees that can lead to homeowners losing access to certain amenities or even foreclosure in some extreme cases.

 

Rules and Regulations

All Homeowners Association has a documented set of by-laws that outlines rules and regulations that all members of the community follow. These by-laws were drafted in the best interest of the homeowners and can be revisited at any time following the correct process.

These rules and regulations might include things like what color you can paint your house, upgrades and renovations, pets, parking regulations, and curfew to name a few. Any violations or infractions are fined and can lead to the loss of certain privileges.

 

Management

HOA management is governed by the board of directors and operated either thru an in-house set-up or a third-party service. Entrusting your board of directors and property managers to act for the best interest, can be difficult for some homeowners.

Being part of the HOA, you also don’t have unilateral control over your property. All decisions, especially those affecting other homeowners and communal areas, are done via board resolutions with at least a quorum of residents voting on them.

 

Final Thoughts

Living in a community with a Homeowners Association has its advantages and disadvantages. You have to do your research on fees, services, and amenities to consider what your family needs. Depending on what you value, the advantages can outweigh the disadvantages for your family.

What to Expect When Buying Luxury Homes

Posted By Mclain

What to Expect When Buying Luxury Homes

A luxury home is not synonymous with an expensive house. A luxury home is defined by the neighborhood, great architecture, impressive landscaping, high-quality finishings, and top-of-the-line amenities and appliances. Buying and living in a luxury home will certainly provide a wonderful experience for you and your family.

Here are the top six tips that would get you a great deal as a luxury home buyer:

 

Hire A Real Estate Agent Specializing in Luxury Properties

Real Estate Agents are a dime a dozen nowadays. However, when buying luxury properties leveraging on the expertise of your real estate agent would play a great role. Through their network, they have access to high-end properties. These properties typically do not have open houses and appointments have to be made to view them.

Real estate agents can help you find issues with houses that you are viewing that may not be seen by non-real estate professionals. They can also be a great source to help you assess asking prices and deals. And the ultimate bonus, access to their network of title companies, insurance, and lenders, and assistance with the necessary paperwork.

 

Know What You Need and Want

Similar to any other house you would buy, knowing what you need and want would make it easier for your real estate agent to find the perfect home for you. Aside from the basic information such as your requirements for bed and bath, additional information such as if you want to live in a gated community, a house with a pool, a separate guest house within the property to name a few. Since there are lesser luxury properties out there you might not get exactly what you want but every real estate agent worth their fees would try to find you your dream house or at least give you alternatives.

 

Take Your Time

In the luxury home market, inventory may be limited and you might not find everything you needed and wanted in your home. Do not compromise on the first property you see. Give yourself time to look at different properties and not rush into a decision. Buyer’s remorse is a real thing, rushing your purchase can cause you and your family disappointment. Take your time and be patient with what is available in the market, after all an investment this huge and expensive should not be taken lightly and hastily.

 

Don’t Rely Solely on Pictures

Pictures shared by a seller give you an idea of how the property looks like, however, keep in mind that pictures can be staged to look great. In some cases, some homes don’t photograph well because of things like lighting and layout. Setting an appointment for a visit would still be the best option so you can also experience the luxury that the home has to offer.

 

Home Inspection is A Must

For purchases and investments this huge, home inspection should not be optional. As you go through the property, you might be distracted by the great features and amenities and fail to notice or gloss over parts of the house that need work. A home inspection will uncover potential issues with the property and reveal repairs and maintenance that need to be done.

An average home inspector may not have the skill required to do this for luxury homes given the unique features of the property. You can tap into the network of your real estate agent and ask for reliable partners to do the inspection.

 

Get to Know Governing Organizations

For high-end communities, more often than not, there are organizations governing the community. Homeowners’ Association and Board of Directors for neighborhoods and Cooperatives for high-end condominiums and apartment buildings. These governing bodies run and maintain the community, they implement rules and regulations that all residents agree to and must live by. Researching on what to expect, fees that need to be paid, rules and regulations, amenities, and benefits would help prepare you for moving in.

 

Final Thoughts

Upgrading your life and buying a luxury home is a big investment. Buying a luxury home for the right reasons at the right time will allow you to feel confident in your purchase decision. Understanding how the buying process work will help you assess the situation and advertently your decision. These tips together with the help of your real estate agent can help you find the perfect deal for you.

Renting Out Your Property for First-Time Buyers

Posted By Mclain

What to do When Renting Out Your Property

Thinking of renting out your home? There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to it. Dependent on where you’re located and your market, Renting it out or other properties is a great source of passive income, especially if you are not paying a mortgage for that property. Tourist and commercial complex areas are opportunities for seasonal rentals while residential or industrial communities offer opportunities for long-term rentals.

Whether you’re renting out a home for additional income or because it’s taking a little longer to sell your home, it’s best to be prepared and iron out all the details. Here are a few ways you can prepare as a first-time landlord:

 

1. Figure Out How Much to Charge

If your property is still under a mortgage, you have to factor that into how much income your rental would be raking in. The rental rate should cover your expenses for the property and be priced competitively as well to be able to attract potential renters. Offering more, compared to other rental properties, could attract more renters and allow you to charge more. These may include perks such as parking, security, and location.

Knowing other rental properties and how much they go for are in your neighborhood would also be beneficial. Look at similar properties rented out in the area and price your property based on the neighborhood, how many beds and bathrooms, and any recent work done on your home.

 

2. Decide on Property Management

Managing a rental property can be a handful. Some property owners prefer to manage and oversee the rental themselves. This may seem like a lot of work but you get a hand in everything and get to personally know your tenants. Other rental property owners prefer to hire management companies to manage your rental property. It might make a dent in your profit but would rid you of the effort involved to manage the day-to-day needs of your property and tenants.

 

3. Be Prepared for Repairs and Maintenance

We’ve all been renters at one point or another and we all know that one of the advantages of renting is having the landlord or the property manager on speed dial for everything you might need. However, being on the other end of that call is a whole different thing altogether. Common repair and maintenance needs of renters include plumbing, electrical work, and appliance repair.

To be able to manage these repairs and maintenance requests better it would be best to include in the lease agreement things such as turnaround time on repairs. If you’re handy around the home you can do the work yourself. However, another great trick is to have agreements and partnerships with woodworkers, electricians, plumbers, appliance repair men so you don’t have to do the actual work yourself.

 

4. Set Rental Policies and Draft Lease Agreements

There are a lot of rental policies and lease agreements available online and can be easily tweaked to your situation. These documents outline the rules and responsibilities of both you, as the landlord, and your renter. Other common information included are names of all parties involved, address and description of the property, terms, and conditions, and rent and other fees.

It would also be great if you can have a real estate agent or lawyer take a look into the Rental Policies and Lease Agreement that you were able to come up with to ensure you’re covered in all legal aspects.

 

5. Find Great Tenants

Once you have your home ready to be rented out, you can post the for rent ads on different platforms. Looking for tenants is easy, but looking for the right tenants is a different thing altogether. Once you have potential tenants lined up, it would be great to meet and interview them to get to know them better. Background checks would also be beneficial, ask potential tenants to fill up out an application form with their basic information, proof of income, and capacity to pay.

 

Final Thoughts

Following these tips can help make the experience hassle-free for both you and your renter but it can also be a handful. Make sure you have agreed and ironed out the details with your tenants and you are comfortable with everything, after all, it is still your home. Being a landlord is not a walk in the park, but ensuring that everything is covered is a great way to prepare for it.

Selling Your Property? Advantages of Having an Open House

Posted By Mclain

Selling Your Property? Advantages of Having an Open House

Selling a property can be a tedious process. Once you make the decision to sell there is an overabundance of things that you have to decide and work on like deciding whether you will sell with a real estate agent, sell to an investor, or even sell it yourself. Whatever option you decide on, you have to prepare your house for viewing. When you sell to an investor, you do not need to have an open house but the investor may want to view your property and walk through it. On the other hand, listing with a real estate agent or selling it yourself you would have the option of having an open house.

What exactly is an open house? It’s an event held by sellers to invite prospective buyers to view the property. Sellers put out For Sale and Open House signs and advertise to invite more people to the open house. It’s also customary for sellers to prepare small snacks like home-baked cookies for a homey feel. Sellers usually prepare information about the property to be disseminated through pamphlets and information sheets during the open house that can be shared as potential buyers are shown around the property.

An open house may sound like a lot of work for some sellers, but here are a few ways that you, as a seller can benefit from it:

 

Attract Potential Buyers

Having an open house would attract potential buyers into your home and maximize exposure. This is a chance to reach people curious buyers like the people down the block that have been eyeing properties on your street or potential homeowners that are just “window-shopping” but haven’t really decided yet. The open house would be a perfect opportunity to talk up and showcase your house.

 

Highlight the Best Features of Your Home

The internet has enabled and transformed the real estate industry. Ads and pictures of a property that you are trying to sell can be shown on real estate and realtor websites. However, some key and great features of your property can’t be shown properly in pictures and can be underappreciated. Having an open house is a perfect way to be able to showcase these features to prospective buyers allowing them to fully appreciate and experience the features of your home.

 

Increase Visibility and Market Better

Open houses can increase the visibility and marketability of a seller’s property for sale. Traditional marketing means the advertisement in newspapers or even advertisements on websites are one-sided marketing strategies, whereas, in an open house, you are able to interact with potential buyers, win them over, and sell them your property.

 

Sell faster and Get a Better Deal

Open houses can help you sell your house faster and get a better deal. You have a lot of potential buyers flocked at your home and if you are able to showcase your house and “sell” the value of your home, potential buyers may make an offer on the spot. A bidding war may even ensure and you may end up with more than your asking price.

 

Convenience

Convenience is the most in-demand intangible experience that benefits all parties involved. In the selling process deciding to go with an open house can save you time and effort. Showing the property in one event compared to having to show your property to different buyers separately. You don’t have to worry about fixing up the place every time a potential buyer wants to view your property. An open house also creates a much more laid-back and even more social environment and would save you the potential awkwardness of having to interact with people one-on-one.

 

Final Thoughts

Managing an open house can be a handful, especially if you are directly selling your property and do not have the assistance of a real estate agent. There are both advantages and disadvantages to doing it. The role of an open house is to bring potential buyers to your property and be able to showcase your home. However, recent circumstances have brought about other alternatives to an open house that could be explored like virtual viewings and video walkthroughs in lieu of pictures in your advertisement. Ultimately the goal of an open house is to help you sell your property, the decision of whether to have one or not would be up to you.

How and What to Prepare When Relocating

Posted By Mclain

Whether you are relocating because of a new job or just wanting a change in environment, the moving process that you would have to go through is tedious. The effort involved in moving a few blocks in the same neighborhood is already huge and all the more when moving into a different neighborhood or even a different state altogether. This can be both exciting and stressful. Planning ahead can make a difference in the level of stress and overall feeling of preparedness for your move

Besides finalizing the paperwork and the packing process here are a few things you may have overlooked and forgotten that can help you prepare for this move:

 

1. Prepare for the Logistics

Planning ahead and knowing your schedule and timelines would make moving a lot easier for you. You would know exactly how much time you have to pack up your stuff, also, whether you’re relocating just across the city or moving to a new state, you have to work on timing your move. You may be able to book a flight and be there in a couple of hours but you have to think about the travel time of your moving truck and having your car shipped. You also have to think about the costs and expenses this move would take like hiring professional movers and buying boxes and packing supplies.

 

2. Take Inventory of Your Things

As you prepare for a move this big, you would definitely need to engage the services of professional movers. Taking the time to do an inventory of your things and what you should bring and not will save you both money and space in a moving truck. Another advantage is that this would ensure that all the things that you would bring to your new home are right-sized and just what you need and at the same time get rid of all the junk you accumulated over the years.

 

3. Know the Businesses and Establishes in the Area

The final hurdle in moving and relocating is unpacking the boxes, fixing up, and basically just getting settled in your new home. People moving usually work on unpacking their bedrooms first, this way you’re assured that you’d have a comfortable bed to sleep in on your first night. Knowing establishments that are near your new home, like convenience stores and restaurants would be helpful as you go through the process of unpacking.

Familiarizing yourself with the nearest restaurants near your new home will save you from the pressure and rush of having to unpack the kitchen just to be able to have dinner. Another establishment that would be best to familiarize yourself with is convenience stores, they can come in handy for the small things you might have forgotten to pack like toiletries and garbage bags.

 

4. Updating Your Billing Address and Subscriptions

Because of all the companies that you have to get in touch with, having your billing address changed can be a hassle. Leaving a forwarding address with your landlord, if you’re renting, or with the new owners of your old home can be a backup plan, however having your address changed doing this sooner rather than later would make it easier since you would eventually have to do this anyway. Updating your address for services and subscriptions would ensure that you continue to receive newsletters, magazines, bills, and even on-site support from utility companies. While you’re at it, updating your address for government records like with the DMV and voter registration information would be ideal just to make sure you have all your bases covered.

 

5. Get Your Security Deposit Back (Only if You’re Renting)

You might be up in the air with all the preparations for your move. But one thing that you shouldn’t forget is getting back the security deposit that you have in your place, especially if you are leaving your old home in great condition. Don’t forget to let your landlord know that you would be moving so you can start the process of getting your security deposit. You can make arrangements such as your security deposit covering your last few months of rent or for a check to be mailed to you.

 

Final Thoughts

Although it may seem like a lot of work planning in advance can actually help you. Preparation is the best way of ensuring that you have the situation under control. Remember to not let the stress get to you and still feel the excitement of moving to your new home.

Buying a House? Here’s What to Ask Your Realtor

Posted By Mclain

Buying a house is a huge commitment, for most people when they start the process, they do a lot of research, and what best research is there than asking an expert. Engaging the services of a real estate agent would make the buying process a lot easier.

Here are things that you can ask your real estate agent, both before and while working with them, that would get you the best value from what you would be paying your real estate agent.

 

Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent

1. What are your experiences working in the area?

Having a realtor that is familiar with the neighborhood that you are looking to buy in would come with a lot of perks, especially if you are relocating. Your real estate agent can give insights on what the area is like and recommend great establishments like schools, groceries, and restaurants.

 

2. Do you have referrals and recommendations for third-party services?

In the buying process, depending from state to state, you would need a lot of third-party services like lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, and real estate lawyers to name a few. For established real estate agents, they would usually already have someone that they partner with. This would lessen the hassle of having to find and vet these people.

 

3. What are your fees?

Similar to any other contract and agreement you enter into, it’s best to clearly define how much are the fees of your real estate agent. Having that discussion at the onset about fees breakdown and inclusions would allow for easier conversations as you talk about property prices.

 

4. Do you have references from previous clients?

Most real estate agents would have online pages and websites that would showcase testimonials from people they have worked with, or you directly ask the real estate agent for references of homeowners they’ve worked with. This would give you an inkling of how the real estate agent works and deliver their services. You can also ask the real estate agent directly for references.

 

In the Buying Process

1. Why Is The Property Being Sold?

This is one of the most important things that all prospective buyers should ask. You have to know the motivation of the seller on why they are selling the property as this would uncover if you yourself should even be considering buying it. If the seller is looking to sell due to downsizing or relocating to a new area the sales will be okay.

This is also where seller disclosures also come into play. By its name, sellers should disclose details about the property. This covers health hazards like asbestos and lead-based paint, crimes, and death in the house, water damage, homeowners association details, and required major repairs.

 

2. Is this house fairly priced?

As real estate professionals, their expertise includes checking if the property you are looking at is fairly priced. Real Estate Agents run a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or better known as comps to check if the property is fairly priced. This process involves checking similar properties that have sold in the neighborhood comparing square footage, amenities, and condition.

 

3. How much do property taxes and utilities cost?

Property taxes and utilities would always be part of the expenses of a homeowner Knowing how much this would cost before making an on offer on a property would help you budget and plan out your finances better and even determine if you can really afford the property you are eyeing.

 

4. Do you have concerns or see red flags about a particular property?

In the buying process, you would most likely look at multiple properties and visit a lot of open houses. It’s always valuable to ask your real estate agents about concerns and red flags they see about the property. An experienced real estate professionals would be able to see problems with a home that a buyer may not catch.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or buying your nth home, there will always be value in leveraging on the knowledge of a real estate agent as you through the buying process. It is important to engage the services of a real estate professional that you are comfortable with and someone whose judgment you trust with after all you’ll be working with them in finding you your dream home.

The Advantages of Buying than Renting

Posted By Mclain

In a world where everything depreciates in value over time, there is one sure way that you can rely on that would appreciate in value – properties. While it is normal for the average person to rent or lease a home all throughout their lives, what most people do not know is that it is actually more economically beneficial if you set up a mortgage and buy your own property than renting?

Both Buying and Renting gives the security of having your own place to live in for both comfort and functionality. Renting will always be a written expense with no future reward for you. One can even argue that renting is money wasted because not all repairs, upgrades and modification in you rented property is shouldered by your landlord – in the end, you end up paying for the upkeep of a property that isn’t even yours.

People have different opinions on whether to buy or to rent, eventually, a decision has to be made. Here are a few benefits that stand out when buying a home that can help you decide which way to go:

 

1. Decrease in Living Expenses in the Future

When you purchased your home with cash or even a mortgage, the chances of eventually reducing your living expenses are only paid a certain time period. After that has been fully paid, living expenses you would have to pay would just be your operational expenses like utilities, cable, internet, etc. Even if you decide to purchase your home in cash, this would be a one time cost and would still result in lower living expenses moving forward.

 

2. Having the Flexibility to Personalize

One of the best advantages of being a homeowner, you can do anything you want to your home, since well, it’s yours. You have the freedom to take down walls or build new ones, re-tile the bathroom, change the wall colors, add cabinets and shelves. It’s all up to you. Of course, keep in mind that all of these would come at a cost, but still, you’re putting in the work and the money towards completing your dream home.

 

3. Not at the Mercy of A Landlord

You wouldn’t have to worry about lease renewal wherein the landlord would suddenly decide to increase rent or decide to sell with little to no notice leaving the renter with very little time to look for another apartment. Another inconvenience of renting is that more often than not, the landlord would have a set of keys to your apartment so they can enter anytime and possibly show your place to potential renters without you knowing about it.

 

4. Stable Household

Purchasing a home is a big commitment, one that should be part of your long-term plans. People purchase homes in communities that they choose to settle at and more often than not this then becomes a family home, a home where the entire family can put down roots. This stability brings comfort and a send e of security wherein you do not have to worry about moving after your lease is over or a big move wherein you relocate and have to simultaneously sell your property and buy a new one.

 

5. Passive Income

If and when you decide to move, selling your property is not the only option. You can explore the possibility of becoming a landlord and earn a passive income by renting out your property. This would be a profitable setup especially if you do not have a mortgage anymore since rent owed to you would be net income already.

Final Thoughts

The appeal of calling a home yours is something that we can’t put a price on. As a prospective buyer, it is important to identify and keep in mind your priorities, current needs, and plans for the future. In the process of deciding whether to buy or rent there are pros and cons to be considered and would ultimately depend on who is looking for a home.

The Advantages of Renting than Buying

Posted By Mclain

When you tell people that you are looking to rent a house, more often than not you’d hear the response “You’re wasting money”, “Why rent when you can buy”, “Your rent would be equal the mortgage”, or “Invest in something that can be yours”.

Deciding whether to rent or to buy is a big decision that any aspiring property owner or occupant would face. The cost is more often than not the main driver in the decision-making process, however when weighing the options that you have, it’s a lot more than just the cost.

Here are a few advantages to aid your decision making and may just tip the scales and make you decide to rent:

 

1. Fixed Budget

With renting a house, you as the lessee, can commit the rent month on month based on your contract. This is a big advantage since this is now a fixed cost and can be included in your monthly budget.

Another benefit that one can enjoy when renting is getting to pay less upfront. Although there are upfront payments like a deposit and security deposit, this would still cost less compared to paying equity.

The real cost of ownership is a lot more than just paying equity, a mortgage, realtor fees, closing costs, and property taxes. There are also other costs to consider such as recurring payments like Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees and Insurance and Incidental expenses, mostly covering maintenance, repairs, and house upkeep. All of which would most likely be not part of your budget if you are looking to rent.

 

2. Mobility and Stability

Renting provides less commitment and a lot more flexibility and mobility for any major life changes. If the time comes that you need to move for a job, move to a better school district, or just want to change scenery and environment. Although not advisable, it is a lot easier to terminate a lease than sell your house. This level of freedom is a huge advantage to those who have not established roots and are still trying to find the community or area they would want to live in.

 

3. Not Risky

You will always hear that “Real Estate is a good investment”, generally this statement holds true. However, there are certain instances where real estate properties depreciate such as the market crashing, neglected property, or may even be more supply than demand. As a renter depreciation and fluctuations in the market won’t affect your lease in any way.

 

4. Less Strict Credit Requirements

For people who are just starting out or were in a tight spot before giving rise to a situation where you may have bad credit, renting may be a good idea to get you back on track. Renting has a lot more elbow room when it comes to credit requirements.

 

5. Perks and Amenities

If you are renting in apartment complexes, these usually have recreational community amenities such as playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. that would otherwise be more expensive if you set up your own home. Other apartments would even have functional amenities that can result in savings in your daily expenses such as gyms, laundry rooms, and business centers. The use of these community amenities is usually open to all tenants and included in the rent.

A few perks that renters sometimes experience are free internet access, utilities included in the contract. These may be small costs in value but if you scale it to living in that apartment for a year, that’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars saved and avoided, Although this does not apply to all lessors and is entirely dependent on your contract and agreement.

Ultimate Home Seller’s Checklist

Posted By Mclain

Selling a home is just as arduous as buying a home. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to be able to sell your home with a smooth and easy escrow. But most importantly, it is ideal to plan ahead of time in order to get the best price possible out of the sale of your home. This can essentially be done by properly staging your home and making it look the best and most presentable way possible.

That being said, if you’re a homeowner who is looking to sell in the near future, it’d be best to start preparing your home for about half a year in advance. In order to help you out, we have curated a checklist for you to ensure that once you’re ready to list your home for sale, your home would be ready as well.

 

1. Find the right help

As mentioned above, selling a home is an arduous process. In order to ensure that this runs as smoothly as possible, it is crucial that you are able to find and hire the right people from the start. This is especially true if you are a first-time home seller.

Real estate agents are professionals whom you can always ask questions and seek advice from. Of course, you can always browse the web to look for answers but asking a real estate agent will be a lot easier. On top of that, you are guaranteed to be provided accurate and up-to-date answers as no one would know your real estate market better than your agent.

You can also ask your real estate agent to help you with completing the rest of this checklist within an ideal timeline.

 

2. Strategize a timeline

More than just preparing your home, the actual date of when you list your home will gravely affect how the rest of your home selling process will play out. Typically, homes should be put up for sale during summer or spring. This is because most home buyers find it ideal to move during these seasons over fall or winter.

However, it is important to note that each real estate market is different. Although this may be true for most, it may not apply to your specific market. Therefore, it is still best if you would seek the advice of your real estate agent.

 

3. Examine your home and conduct research

Before you even begin thinking of a price range, asking for an appraisal, or even placing a price on your home, it’d be best to conduct some research first.

The best way of doing this is by conducting a CMA or a Comparative Marketing Analysis. This method assesses the value of your home by comparing it to other similar properties within the same neighborhood or market. You can always ask your real estate agent to provide the report to you.

The value of your home will depend on a lot of aspects. On top of your home’s condition, one major aspect of determining the value of your home is the competition or the current condition of the market as well. If there are a lot of homes listed in your neighborhood, then chances are, you might have to lower your home’s value and vise versa.

At the same time, the location of your home is also taken into consideration. The type of neighborhood and the facilities that are located within your area plays a role in this as well.

 

4. Prepare your home for listing

Getting a pre-approved loan simply means that a lender has verified your finances and has agreed to provide you with a loan under certain conditions. Most homebuyers skip this part but it is actually a step that you should always accomplish as soon as possible.

Under this item on your checklist, you must prepare your proof of income, proof of assets, credit history, employment history, as well as other supporting documents that can help lenders verify your status and identification.

This step is important as this will provide you with more information and a better insight into what your ideal budget should be.

 

5. Browse through properties

This is the part where you spend and shell out money.

If you’re planning on hosting an open house, you can begin by making improvements to your home. These can be either small improvements or major improvements, depending on your home. From giving your home a brand new paint job to replacing your roof, these improvements can be costly.
This would also work to your advantage once your home gets inspected.

Although it is optional, you can also hire someone to stage your home. Open houses are crucial because this is where most of your serious buyers will visit your home. It is important that you are able to make your home as presentable as possible.

If you are not confident in your skills in staging your home, then it’d be best to ask your real estate agent for their recommended professionals to help you stage your home and impress your potential buyers.

Staging might look simple but there are a lot of details that go into staging your home. From ensuring that your home is depersonalized as possible to removing any unnecessary furniture and decoration, these minute details can possibly turn off an interested buyer.

 

Final Thoughts

These four steps are crucial to ensure that you make the most out of this process. Although they are not necessary, if you have the capacity and resources to take on these steps, it would definitely work to your advantage.

You have to remember that it takes patience and a lot of work to sell a home. The best way to avoid the stress of an ugly escrow is to plan ahead and seek the help of a professional real estate agent.

The Ultimate Home Buyer’s Checklist

Posted By Mclain

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest commitments any person can have. When you’re purchasing a home, it’s not the same as buying any other merchandise wherein you can return it or have it exchanged easily should you decide later on that you no longer like it. On top of that, it’s also probably the largest financial asset for most.

This is why it is important for every homebuyer to best prepare themselves for this journey. In this article, we take a dive into the checklist of every homebuyer so that they can have a smooth and better home buying experience.

 

What to expect when preparing to buy a home?

Planning is the key to a successful and smooth escrow. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers.

Once you have decided that you’re ready to take that big leap and move into your own home, the idea of purchasing your first home can be an extremely exciting journey. From looking at available properties on the market to deciding on which neighborhood you’d want to settle in, there are plenty of things that you can look forward to.

However, it can also be scary and full of anxiety for some.

This is because every first-time homebuyer will soon realize that the journey from committing to purchasing a home and actually closing an escrow to move into a home takes a lot of work and time.

From learning the legal and real estate terms to choosing a real estate agent and meeting a lot of potential sellers and lenders, there is a lot of work that needs to get done before you can even begin thinking about moving into a new home.

So it is best that before you start creating your checklist, you have your expectations managed.

 

What should be the items on my checklist?

1. Create a definite budget

Before you get ahead of yourself, the best way to start your home buying journey is to determine how much you can afford. There are already a lot of factors and elements to this process that you would want to try and eliminate any deterrent that you can right from the start.

By creating a definite budget, you are already forming a mindset of what your realistic and ideal home should be like. When you’re further down the road of this process, you won’t be distracted by features or properties that are outside of your budget.

It is also important that when you’re trying to determine your budget that you create room for some allowance. This is because there might be some unexpected costs along the way and you wouldn’t want this to cause any delays. At the same time, once you move into your new home, the last thing you’d want after all that energy and time invested in this process is to stress over your financials.

 

2. Find a real estate agent

Finding a real estate agent is a crucial part of your home buying journey.

Your real estate agent should be someone that you trust as they will essentially be handling your biggest investment. This is why it’s important that before you even begin looking at homes or applying for a mortgage, you need to start by looking for a real estate agent.

Your real estate agent is your biggest ally in this journey. They are the guide and they will help you reach your goal and find your new home. From recommending neighborhoods and properties to preparing all of the documents that you need to cross the finish line, your real estate agent is your partner.

 

3. Get a pre-approved loan

Getting a pre-approved loan simply means that a lender has verified your finances and has agreed to provide you with a loan under certain conditions. Most homebuyers skip this part but it is actually a step that you should always accomplish as soon as possible.

Under this item on your checklist, you must prepare your proof of income, proof of assets, credit history, employment history, as well as other supporting documents that can help lenders verify your status and identification.

This step is important as this will provide you with more information and a better insight into what your ideal budget should be.

 

4. Browse through properties

In this digital age, there are a lot of ways you can browse through properties online. There are a lot of real estate agents who post their listings online. You can browse through the MLS to check for listings.

You can also have your real estate agent give their recommendations to you. As they know you well and the real estate market even better, they would have a great insight on which properties that are currently listed will be ideal for you.

At the same time, if you have some neighborhoods in mind, you can always go and visit those neighborhoods to see if there are any properties up for sale.

 

5. Attend open houses

Once you were able to browse through the properties, the next step is to visit those properties.

Open houses are great venues to meet and interact with the seller’s agent and to scout the properties. Some properties may look differently online as they do in person. Take this opportunity to inspect the property as well as ask the seller’s agent any questions.

 

6. Make an offer

After you have selected a home that you like, the next step is to make an offer and submit it to the seller. Your agent will help you prepare all of the documents that you need. These documents will include your offer, the contingencies, disclosures, as well as a timeline.

It is best to prepare yourself for negotiations once your offer has been submitted.

 

7. Ask for a home inspection

Although some sellers might already have a home inspection report ready for you, it is still advisable that you hire your own home inspector before fully committing to a home. A home inspection will reveal any issues that the property has.

Not only will this help you prepare financially for the repairs but it can also provide you with ammunition should you need to renegotiate with the seller.

 

8. Get an appraisal

This step is mandatory if you’re securing a loan to pay for the property. Typically, the lender will have the property appraised by a professional to verify the amount of the loan that you’ll be receiving from them.

 

9. Negotiations

Having to renegotiate a deal is something that most home buyers try to avoid because it can delay the close of the escrow as well as become extremely stressful. However, if there are any serious issues revealed through the home inspection, then this is something that you should definitely take on.

If there are serious repairs that need to be done to the property, you can either ask the seller to lower their asking price or shoulder the cost of the repairs.

 

10. Close the sale

Once you’re done with the negotiations, all that is left is for both parties to sign and submit the necessary documents and you’re ready to move into your new home.